‘Komo-maki’ is Japan’s traditional method to exterminate eggars, insect pests of pine trees, which has long been carried out since the 17th century.
A trunk of pine tree covered with a rice straw mat like in the picture is often seen in Japanese garden in early winter. We associate this scene with people with a muffler around their neck, accordingly this method is mistakenly regarded as protecting pine trees from the cold of winter, but this actually is a countermeasure against harmful insects of pine trees. These insects usually eat pine leaves, however they descend from the trees to spend in the fallen leaves on the ground in winter. If the trunk is covered with a straw mat, they spend here instead in winter. When spring comes, this mat is to be removed from the trunk to be burnt with the insects.
By Masahisa Takaki.
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